Oral Health

Oral health isn't just important for your teeth, gums, and mouth. Practicing good oral habits can prevent disease throughout your body. Common problems inside the mouth include cavities, gum disease, canker sores, and dry mouth syndrome. Taking care of the teeth and gums is especially important for pregnant women and newborns. Whitening agents, while they certainly improve the appearance of teeth, don't really affect the health of your mouth.

What Is Oral Health?

The word "oral" refers to the mouth, which includes the teeth, gums, and supporting tissues. It is easy to take your oral health for granted, but it is one of the keys to living each day comfortably. These tissues allow you to speak, smile, sigh, kiss, smell, taste, chew, swallow, and cry. They also let you show a world of feelings through expressions. Taking good care of these tissues can prevent disease in them and throughout your body.
 

Oral Health and Other Health Problems

Your oral health can be a sign of your overall health. Many serious diseases show their first signs as symptoms in the mouth. These disease symptoms include:
 
This is why it is important to have complete, regular oral exams.
 
Most of us think of oral health problems in terms of cavities, toothaches, and crooked or stained teeth. Lacking healthy teeth and gums has an effect on how we look, but it also affects the health of our bodies. For example:
 
  • If you have gum disease, you may be more likely to get heart disease.
  • Having missing teeth can affect your mental health, since it can lead to feeling badly about yourself.
  • If you have diabetes, you may be more likely to get gum disease.
  • If you have both diabetes and gum disease, you can have more problems controlling your blood sugar levels.
     
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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